The other day, at lunch, I was sitting at a table and watched a young mother with two small children snapping photos and Instagraming the moments. I realized that she was not noticing much of what the kids were doing thanks to her focus on "sharing" the memories. This made me wonder how distracted parents of this generation are in comparison to our own and those before us. This young woman was missing out on some beautiful moments with her kids because she wanted to share the glimpse of them she was getting instead.
A Pew Internet & American Life Project report surveyed middle school and high school teachers and got startling results about the "Distracted Generation." Another study, involving middle, high school, and university students, analyzed study patterns. It also found that these kids are highly distracted. Generation Z, now also known as the Distracted Generation, is comprised of kids born in the mid-1990s. Most of them are in middle school, high school, or just starting college. With few exceptions, they are very connected, very mobile, and very gadget-savvy.
Some of them are having kids or have parents who are in their 30s now. Their parents are also very tech savvy, with Generations Y and X having a lot of connected behavior. A lot of this behavior is distracting.
I don't know about you, but I've caught myself sometimes ignoring "family time" because I thought I had to be quick to answer an email or respond to a text. I check myself more often than I'd like, but it's a fact of life today: we often have a lot on our plates. We sometimes let ourselves be driven by it.
Watching that young woman with her kids reminded me that technology is not always just a tool. Sometimes it's a master. We sometimes have to remind ourselves to put away our gadgets, shut off our WiFi, and ignore our phones for a few hours and enjoy our families, our friends, and our real lives. We can become so driven by the quest for Likes and Shares and Re-tweets that we forget to stop and smell the roses once in a while.
What's even better is that your kids will enjoy it, be better for it, and your family relationships will be stronger because of it. Paying attention to your loved ones is the best thing you can do for them. And yourself.
I've made it my duty to shut off my phone and put it away every night before dinner. I don't look at it, touch it, or have anything to do with it while I enjoy face time with my family and friends. Life is better that way. Try it.